Both male and female masturbation is a practice that many are ashamed about or don't receive accurate information on. In many cultures, the idea of purity looks down on self-pleasure, making masturbation a taboo subject.
Due to this atmosphere of silence, you may have heard rumors about what masturbation actually does to your body. There are wild tales of masturbation causing unprecedented hair growth, infertility, and even a permanent hormonal effect. The allegations can be alarming, especially if you’ve started looking into sex toys to up your masturbation game.
In this article, we will separate fact from fiction, reviewing the actual effects of masturbation and answering common health questions. You should be able to masturbate with confidence, knowing its health effect on your body.
Is Masturbation Healthy?
You deserve accurate information about your body and sexual health. Have you been wondering if masturbation is healthy? Overall, the answer is yes! It has many health benefits, both mentally and physically.
Here are some of the many benefits of self-gratification for men and women:
- Relieves stress: Stress comes into our lives via many different situations and biological circumstances. Masturbation can allow for easier sleep, rest, and recuperation from daily stress.
- Increases sexual confidence: When you explore your body via masturbation, you will learn what helps you reach that orgasmic peak. Understanding your own body's cues will boost your confidence in a partner situation.
- Prevents depression: Depression is a complex mental disease that can't simply be treated with masturbation alone; however, the hormones that are activated during and after a self-pleasure session can ease the effects of depression and boost your overall mood.
There are many, many more benefits of masturbation, and the key to understanding why lies in the biological effects of masturbation.
The human brain is hardwired to reward sexual pleasure. This involves consensual sexual activity with and without a partner, in any setting, with any toys or other objects.
Hormones like oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin, along with other endorphins, will activate, sending your brain into a happy, elevated state. Even if you do not reach full ejaculation during masturbation, your body will still flood with many of these happy hormones.
Not only are the side effects of masturbation not bad for you, they biologically increase your well-being and general state of mind. Regular jack-off sessions can even improve body image and overall sex life. It’s a win-win scenario.
Can You Masturbate Too Much?
We've established that masturbation, in general, is a healthy activity. Another common question, and source of misinformation, is whether one can masturbate too much or too often.
The answer is no, not really, unless this self-pleasure becomes a major issue that begins to impact your life negatively.
A recent study found that during the COVID-19 pandemic, subjects polled all masturbated at wildly varying frequencies, with 24.2% of men not masturbating at all in the past year, 17.1% masturbating two to three times per week, and almost 10% masturbating every day.
The common reasons for female and male masturbation frequency have nothing to do with health concerns. Instead, the motivation for masturbation is related to pleasure, feeling sexual tension, stress relief, and relaxation. The most frequently endorsed reasons for not masturbating were:
- Lack of interest
- Being in a committed relationship
- Conflict with morals or values
- Being against one's religion
Masturbating 'too much' is a deeply personal concept that differs for everyone, depending on factors like sex drive and any existing sexual dysfunction. If self-pleasure isn't against any personal moral or relational code and you're in the mood, then wank as much as you desire.
Don't worry if you suddenly notice yourself masturbating less frequently. Just as there are no health reasons to masturbate less, there are also no reasons you must masturbate more. Pay attention to your body and just focus on getting the best out of each session, regardless of how often they occur.
However, the idea that too much masturbation is bad for you may have come from the scenario that happens when you masturbate too roughly. If you jack off too aggressively with a lack of proper lubrication, then you could damage the delicate skin of your genitalia. This can lead to a painful condition.
Always use proper lubrication and apply lube as needed throughout your masturbation session to avoid this painful experience. If this happens to you, cease excessive masturbation and allow yourself a few days to rest and recover. Monitor your genitals for inflammation, redness, discoloration, and swelling.
Contact a professional for medical advice if your symptoms worsen, and take care in the future to lube up before you wank.
Addressing the Myths Around Masturbation and Your Health
Many of the myths surrounding masturbation relate to the mental effects of self-gratification. These falsities circle the internet and society, spreading lies about the mental health effects of masturbation. Some claim masturbation makes menstrual cramps worse, increases your cortisol, or even damages your immune system.
Here are some of the most prevalent myths about masturbation:
- Myth #1: Masturbation causes erectile dysfunction: ED is a complicated disorder that could result from a myriad of conditions, including progressing age, hormonal imbalance, and illness. Masturbation is not a factor causing ED. Generally, self-pleasure can help with the mental and physical effects of ED, like boosting self-esteem and encouraging blood flow to the genitals.
- Myth #2: Masturbation is not a normal aspect of sexual development: This is patently false. Many doctors and therapists will advise that there's no true age when that masturbation starts, but whenever it does, it's a perfectly normal aspect of sexual development.
- Myth #3: Masturbation will cause physical malformations: This myth often claims that masturbation can cause blindness or other physical issues or ailments. This common myth may result from age-old methods of encouraging abstinence. It has no real medical truth.
Some individuals may have beliefs or practices that make them feel guilt or shame when engaging in any sexual behavior. This can result in a less-than-pleasurable experience, but there are no true medical reasons that support not masturbating.
Your physical health can be improved and supported through pleasurable masturbation. As long as you follow your body's cues, there are no adverse side effects.
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